You have the right to speak up on behalf of your loved ones to safeguard their health and to enlighten those who discount this simple act of respect.

You have the right not to have the tables turned on you to inflict doubt within yourself about your actions to protect your family.

You have the right not to have someone turn their back on you, figuratively and literally.

You have the right to feel the way you do.

You have the right to be heard.

You have the right—to live.

My parents both have existing immunocompromised health conditions and my father is still recovering from three extended-stay hospitalizations during February and March. Mask-wearing and social distancing around my folks in a global pandemic of a highly infectious virus is critical. It’s life or death.

Standing up for what’s right to protect my parents can often leave me feeling like the evil one. I’ve been in this battle to keep my parents medically safe and healthy since my dad’s first hospitalization in February and I refuse to quit no matter what anyone else thinks. I will do everything in my power for their well-being.

We need kindred spirits in our life. I’ve leaned on mine probably more than I should have during the past few months. These are people who are there for you when the barn’s on fire. They listen with love and respect for your situation and strengthen you with their words when exhaustion from the stress of your battle consumes your soul.

I wrote the words above on Wednesday morning to help personally heal from inner pain. A weight has been lifted after my release of emotion. I know that the battle will continue and that’s fine, because I’ll take the tears, heartache, and sleepless nights any day just to have more time on Earth with my mom and dad.

I always ask myself, what is the lesson God wants me to teach others when life is heavy. What if all God wants me to do today is to show vulnerability and share my deepest feelings in this piece with you? No analysis; no hype. Just one person’s walk.

Stay strong in the battle, dear friend. You have the right to speak your truth and be heard. Do not let anyone demean your loving actions. Full stop.

Fellow Warrior,
Denise Lee Branco

Isaiah 56:1-2 (NIV)
“Maintain justice and do what is right, for my salvation is close at hand and my righteousness will soon be revealed.
2 Blessed is the one who does this—the person who holds it fast…”

Psalm 28:7 (NIV)
“The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me.”